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Research Interests

Development Economics, Religion, Demography, Education


Sriya received a PhD from the University of Cambridge (2000); Serves on the Council of the Royal Economic Society; Research Fellow CEPR; Research Fellow IZA; India Advisory Board Pew Research Centre. Awarded a Population Council Social Science Research Fellowship (1998-1999), a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (2000-2003), and grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Isaac Newton Trust, the Cambridge-INET Institute and The Keynes Fund. She was awarded a University of Cambridge Pilkington Prize for Teaching Excellence in 2014.

Recent Publications

Published Papers

Bahal, G., Iyer, S., Shastry, K., and Shrivastava, A. Religion, Covid-19 and Mental Health, European Economic Review (2023) vol 160
Iyer, S. Religion and Discrimination: A Review Essay of Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom, Journal of Economic Literature (2022) vol 60 no. 1 pp. 256-278
Fan, J., Friedman, D., Gair, J., Iyer, S., Redlicki, B. and Velu, C. A Simulation Study of How Religious Fundamentalism Takes Root, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (2021) vol 192 pp. 465-481
Velu, C. and Iyer, S. Learning From Near Misses from Covid 19, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2021) vol 118 no. 40
Iyer, S. and Weeks, M. Social Interactions, Ethnicity, Religion and Fertility in Kenya, Journal of Demographic Economics (2020)
Chaudhary, L., Rubin, J., Iyer, S. and Shrivastava, A. Culture and Colonial Legacy: Evidence from Public Goods Games, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (2020) vol 173 pp. 107-129
Fruehwirth, J., Iyer, S. and Zhang, A. Religion and Depression in Adolescence, Journal of Political Economy (2019) vol 127 no. 3 pp. 1178-1209
Iyer, S. and Shrivastava, A. Religious Riots and Electoral Politics in India, Journal of Development Economics (2018) vol 131 pp. 104-122

Cambridge Working Papers in Economics

Iyer, S., Larcom, S., She, P-W. Do Religious People Cope Better in a Crisis? Evidence from the UK Pandemic Lockdowns, (2024) CWPE2403
Bahal, G., Iyer, S., Shastry, K., and Shrivastava, A. Religion, Covid-19 and Mental Health, (2023) CWPE2302
Cavalcanti, T., Iyer, S., Rauh, C., Roerig, C. and Vaziri, M. A City of God: Afterlife Beliefs and Job Support in Brazil, (2022) CWPE2268
Gair, J. R., Iyer, S. and Velu, C. Probabilistic Choice Models, (2021) CWPE2102
Iyer, S. Religion and Discrimination: A Review Essay of Persecution and Toleration: The Long Road to Religious Freedom, (2020) CWPE2084

Authored Book

Iyer, S. The Economics of Religion in India, (2018) - Harvard University Press
Iyer, S. Demography and Religion in India, (2002) - Oxford University Press

Chapter in Book

Bahal, G., Chandra, U., Iyer, S. and Shrivastava, A. Religion and Employment in India, (2024), forthcoming in Studies in Religion and the Everyday. Edited by Farhana Ibrahim - Oxford University Press
Iyer, S. and Rosso, G. Religion and Mental Health, (2022), in Handbook of Labor, Human Resources and Population Economics. Edited by Klaus Zimmermann - Springer
Iyer, S. The Economics of Religion in Developing Countries, (2020), forthcoming in Religion and Flourishing. Edited by A. Cohen - Baylor University Press
Iyer, S. Religion and Demography, (2019), forthcoming in Advances in the Economics of Religion. Edited by J-P Carvalho, Sriya Iyer, J Rubin - Palgrave Macmillan
Iyer, S. Religion and Institutions, (2018), in A Research Agenda for the New institutional Economics. Edited by Claude Menard, Mary Shirley - Edward Elgar Publishers

Edited Books

eds. Carvalho, J-P, Iyer, S. and Rubin, J. Advances in the Economics of Religion, (2019) - Palgrave Macmillan

Research Activities

VoxEU: Religious people cope better in a crisis
A new column on VoxEU by the Faculty's Professor Sriya Iyer et al notes the potentially large welfare implications in a crisis between religion and psychological distress is sparse.
Published on - Wednesday 1st May 2024

Religious people coped better with the Covid-19 pandemic
Two Cambridge-led studies suggest that the psychological distress caused by lockdowns (UK) and experience of infection (US) was reduced among those of faith compared to non-religious people.
Published on - Tuesday 30th January 2024

Grant for Social Consequences of Religion Initiative
Professor Sriya Iyer has been awarded a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust to lead the Social Consequences of Religion Initiative Strand on Religion and Economic Development.
Published on - Monday 15th January 2024

St Catharine’s College highlights Catz Economics Fellows
An article on Catz Economics Fellows has been published today as part of the College’s 550th anniversary celebrations.
Published on - Tuesday 23rd May 2023

The business of economics
Professor Sriya Iyer from the Faculty of Economics, and Professor Chander Velu from the Department of Engineering have a letter published in The Economist magazine this week arguing that Economics is continuing to be a foundational discipline, but it has the potential to become as practical as engineering.
Published on - Monday 24th April 2023

Research Grants

Social Consequences of Religion Initiative SCORE Strand 3 on Religion and Economic Development Grants 1 and 2 (Templeton Religion Trust)

The Next RES Research Initiative: Expanding the Advancements Made in the Economic Study of Religion and Religious Markets (John Templeton Foundation)

Modernizing The Madrasa In India (Isaac Newton Trust)

Innovation And The Resilience Of Religion (Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science)

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship (The British Academy)

Keynes Fund Affiliation & Sponsored Projects

Deputy Director of the Keynes Fund

Iyer, S., Cavalcanti, T. V. D. and Rauh, C., How Important are Religious Organisations as Insurance? (JHOT)
Iyer, S., Bahal, G. and Shrivastava, A., Religion and Covid-19 (JHUW)


PI Paper 4 - Lent - Political and Social Institutions
PIIB Paper 8 - Themes in Development Economics
MPhil S500 Development

PhD Students


Jamie Moore
PhD Title:
Research: Microeconometrics, Machine Learning, Development Economics, Applied Microeconomics, and Networks
Kishen Shastry
PhD Title:
Research: Traditional and Informal Institutions, Development Economics, Network Economics, Economics of Religion
Dmitrii Petrukhin
PhD Title:
Research: Microeconometrics, Development Economics, Political Economy, Economics of Religion and Networks


Benjapon Prommawin
PhD Title: An Essay on International Reserves Adequacy for Emerging Asian Countries
Shania Mustika
PhD Title:
Research: Labour Economics, Education Economics, Racial Relations and Networks
Carles Vila Martínez
PhD Title:
Research: Political Economy, Economic History, Media Economics

Professor Sriya Iyer

Professor of Economics and Social Science

Research Group:
Empirical Microeconomics

CV: Curriculum Vitae

Personal Site:

Contact Details
Room: 40
Office Hours: Email for appointment
College: Professorial Fellow of St. Catharine's College

Women in Economics